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The end of SNL Québec? (#216)

Télé-Québec (Québec’s public television broadcaster, but perhaps only in fourth of fifth place in terms of ratings among non-specialty channels) is currently undergoing a round of budget cuts.

Last September, they launched Saturday Night Live Québec (SNL Québec).  The novice comedians of the new series became instant stars and household names across Québec and Francophone Canada.   They have since forged a high-profile media presence for themselves on talk shows, at comedy festivals, and in television and media in general.  In a nutshell, SNL Québec allowed us to view the making of new TV stars (and boy, have they been high-profile the last few months).

However, the nature of Télé-Québec’s cutbacks have finally hit home, and they had to cancel SNL Québec.   Last night’s airing could very well have been the LAST episode ever made.

For the moment, you can still view prior SNL episodes on Télé-Québec’s website, here:  http://snlquebec.telequebec.tv/emissions

I’ve seen it mentioned in the media a few times that Télé-Québec is trying to sell the program to a different network- but only time will tell if they succeed.

Regardless of whether or not another network buys the show, the following TV stars have been born and are taking new roles across all media platforms:

  • Phil Roy
  • Virginie Fortin
  • Mathieu Quesnel
  • Léane Labrèche-Dor
  • Pier-Luc Funk
  • Katherine Levac 

The show may have come to an abrupt end, but I have a feeling these six individuals will continue to be highly visible for many years to come.

Katherine Levac (#30) — Move over Acadie… and “Bonjour Ontario!”

“Tant à Découvrir”: The Ontario Government’s French Licence Plates issued to the public… Seen on vehicles across Ontario. If you keep your eyes open for them, you’ll spot them around Toronto, and elsewhere.

Wow!  It looks like we’re experiencing somewhat of an “Ontario invasion” of Franco-Ontariens, out to conquer Montréwood!

Just as it’s written on Ontario’s French license plates, it really does look like there is “Tant à découvrir!”

Move on over Acadia! (traditionally long known as a hot-bed of artistic talent outside of Québec), and BONJOUR ONTARIO!   

Whether it’s Marie-Mai or Véronique DiCaire, Roch Castonguay or Chantal Hébert (she’s been spoofed a number of times on the pop-scene… so, hey, I count her in)… from Chuck Labelle, to Roy Dupuis, Damien Robitaille, Mathieu Pichette and Julien Tremblay … with double the Francophone population of Acadia (over 500,000 in Ontario alone), there seems to be a wave of talent coming from Ontario, attracted to the lights of Montréwood.

Katherine Levac is no exception.  This talented Ontaroise comedian made her big debut onto the public stage last February and March on the pilot episodes of Télé-Québec’s SNL Québec (yes indeed… Québec now has its own French version of the famous New York comedy program “Saturday Night Live”).

The original SNL has been one of my favorite shows since childhood, so I made a definite point of watching the first two SNL Québec episodes as soon as they aired (you can catch them on Télé-Québec’s website by clicking HERE [1] and HERE [2]).

Like most of the public, I had never seen or heard of Katherine Levac until that point.   But the public is always looking for something new in comedy — and Levac brilliantly pulled off the funniest skits as Page Beaulieu, a Franco-Ontarienne; blabbering away like a twit in a not-so-eloquent, exaggerated Southwest Ontario Francophone accent with a very strong English-influenced intonation.   Little did I know at that the time that Levac herself was Franco-Onterienne, from the Eastern Ontario Francophone belt (her natural Ontario French accent from Eastern Ontario is quite different than the Ontario French accent spoken in SW Ontario, but nonetheless, she was perfect fit for the role).   Since then, Levac has repeatedly appeared on television this past spring and summer, has appeared on numerous radio programs, and even made a stage-appearance the other evening at the Prix Gémeaux Awards (you can’t get much bigger than that!!).   It looks like she is that new spark that the public has been craving.

If the past successes of the original SNL stars from New York (many of whom were Anglo-Canadian) proves to be an accurate yard stick… I think we’re going to see a LOT of Katherine Levac, for many years to come !!

Télé-Québec has decided to produce an episode of SNL Québec once every month.   The next one will be airing on Saturday, September 20th at 7:00pm on Télé-Québec.  There will be a pre-airing show on Friday, September 19th at 10:00pm.   If your regional television provider elsewhere in Canada (ie: West of Toronto and Windsor or East of New Brunswick) does not carry Télé-Québec, don’t worry… just wait a few days until after the airing and then check Télé-Québec’s website by clicking HERE (let’s keep our fingers crossed that the full episodes will be posted online).

Oh… and the next episode is supposed to be hosted by Normand Brathwaite (the subject of an earlier post).

So with SNL and L’Été indien as “the” shows to watch this weekend, I wish you happy viewing, and a good end to your week!